Living With Chronic Illness: My Story

Janet McKenzieIt probably took some time for you to find out what was wrong.  It was like that for me too.

I occasionally wonder if I was born with fibromyalgia.  From infancy, I was prone to digestive upset and fatigue, often feeling unwell.  My mom was eventually diagnosed with it, and I’m quite certain her mother had it too.

The pain began when I was about 12 or 13, a deep aching pain in my legs, that was eventually diagnosed as fibrositis (now called fibromyalgia).  Back then, there was very little known about it and even less known about how to treat it.  My mom had always treated her pain with heat and liniments, so I did too.  Heat proved to be especially helpful for me and I still rely on it as a treatment today.

As time went on, my symptoms changed.  To be more precise, they expanded.  The painful ache that was confined to my legs spread to other areas, and I developed a litany of new sensations: stinging, burning, tingling, stabbing and so on.  As well as anxiety, depression, IBS, insomnia and more.

It wasn’t easy dealing with all of this while I went on with my life but I did (and you can too).  I studied nursing and worked as a nurse, then went on to do an MBA followed by a business career and later still, earned a diploma in naturopathic medicine.  You can learn more about my credentials here.

The key benefit of growing up with fibromyalgia when so little was know about it was that it forced me to learn how to care for it myself, using primarily natural interventions.  During my nursing career, and later when I was being treated for depression, I learned how to integrate natural treatments with conventional medical care.

My experiences have taught me a few things: I know what it’s like to be in pain –  all the time; I know what it’s like to struggle for years with something; I know what it’s like to be frustrated; I know what it’s like to be treated condescendingly and dismissively by the people you turn to for help.   In other words, I get what you are going through, even if I don’t have the condition(s) you have.  I get it.  I’m not going to judge you or dismiss your concerns.

Everything I have lived through so far has put me in a great position to help others with fibromyalgia: I understand the conventional treatments as well as the natural, and I know what it’s like to live with pain and frustration.

I can’t promise to heal you.  No one can.  I can promise that if you are patient and committed, we can form a partnership based on mutual understanding and respect, which can propel you towards improved health and a better quality of life.  Fibromyalgia can be horrendous, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  I can help you navigate your way from symptom management through recovery to long term wellness.  Contact me if you would like to know more.